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Voters choose sides in governor’s race

    Neil Abercrombie (right)

At Lincoln Elementary School on the slopes of Punchbowl, after the usual 7 a.m. rush, the stream of voters dwindled to a few at a time late Saturday morning.

“I would say it’s a lot slower than the last election,” said Daven Keomaka, precinct official. “I think it’s because people voted earlier in the week because of the storm. I just hope that they went early and voted at Honolulu Hale. I want everybody to exercise their rights.”

Voters filled the cafeteria at Kawananakoa Middle School when Dedee and Jeff Yamamoto of Pacific Heights cast their ballots in the late morning. Both voted to keep the governor on the job.

“I voted for Neil Abercrombie because I think he’s done an alright job,” Dedee Yamamoto said. “It’s a tough position to be in and he has experience. He’s got a strong personality, but sometimes that’s a good thing. Nothing against the other guy.” 

But Rose Mateo, a retiree, who lives on School Street, said she went for “the new one” in the governor’s race. “They are the same, both Democrats,” Mateo said. “I want to try someone else.”

Patrick Keleher, a youth services specialist for the state, supported Abercrombie. “He’s really been supportive of juvenile justice reform, so I’m happy with him,” he said. 

Keleher, a Pacific Heights resident, decided to use an electronic machine to vote because of the long line of voters with paper ballots, but it turned out not to be a short cut. 

“It wasn’t that easy to use,” said Keleher, who has voted electronically in California in the past. “You had to move the wheel, press the select button, then move the wheel again. It kept putting me in the Independent or Libertarian Party. But the (precinct) guys were really helpful and eventually got it to work right.”  

Polling sites are open until 6 p.m. Saturday.

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